Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm-a-Jerk, You're-a-Jerk אני חנטריש, אתה חנטריש

The above is what my husband refers to as a situation wherein someone behaves jerkily, and you behave in kind. A classic example is a situation that happened to me recently: I entered a performance / sports venue for a free community event, and noticed several unoccupied seats. I made my way to one, and was informed that it, as well as two adjacent seats, were being “saved for my husband”.

Besides the obnoxiousness of seat-saving at such an event, I have to interject here to ask the seat-saver: You can’t be separated from your husband for an hour? Anyway, this is the point at which my husband would simply have walked away, thinking to himself, What a jerk. But not me. With me, it’s a matter of principle; I’m not about to be refused a seat in my own community. So I responded the way I do in seat-saving situations: “I promise I’ll vacate as soon as Husband arrives”. This was met with the catch-all Hebrew phrase *lo na’im li*, which in this case meant, “I’d feel badly”. You’d feel badly? And what about me? I don’t already feel badly being the recipient of your jerkiness?

Well I know you’re in suspense. OK: I sat down in one of the saved seats, and guess what? Husband never showed up. This has happened to me about half a dozen times. My favorite is at a beach or pool, when a large group cops a dozen chairs, places a towel on each, and proceeds to go swim or get refreshments, not returning for hours. Usually at least half the chairs are never sat in. But try to take one at your peril. God forbid two towels should share one beach chair!

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